Wednesday, June 12, 2013

My Horse Has Lyme Disease

My dear horse Phoenix has been lame for some years.  Initially, I took him for x-rays, but they were inconclusive.  I tried a couple of arthritis drugs, but they didn't seem to help.  When my vet came by a few weeks ago to do rabies shots, I was having my annual talk with him about Phoenix's lameness.  He is only lame at the trot, a mild lameness, the sort of thing you can't put your finger on, but that doesn't improve with loosening up.  My vet, who has treated him for his annual shots and once mild allergies over past ten years, said, "Well, it's a long shot, but do you want to test him for lyme disease?".  Both of us were SHOCKED when it came back positive.

The thing is - Phoenix has likely had this for years.  So his lyme disease would be chronic, and he will need a longer term on antibiotics.  A minimum of 620 pills of doxycycline.  Had this happened a few months ago, it wouldn't be such a big deal.  Unfortunately, doxycycline recently took a HUGE hike in pricing.  So huge, in fact, that one local pharmacy gave me an estimate of $3500.  Sadly, we cannot afford that.  My vet, who is wonderful, has said he's willing to send the prescription anywhere.  So I'm exploring options, including ordering the medicine from Australia.  Many thanks to the bloggers who helped me connect with some Australian bloggers to answer questions for me about the website I am considering!

This horse and I have been through so much together.  Eighteen years ago, when I was in college, I rescued him from an abusive situation.  They told me that he was unrideable.  That he bucked off anyone who dared to climb on his back.  It took him a long time to learn to trust.  In the beginning, I could barely catch him.  When I placed my hand up to him, his whole body would tremble in fear. 


He tentatively gave me his heart, though, and we rode in parades and did some schooling shows.  He was the sort of horse, who even at the tender age of 4, would try so hard when I asked him to do crazy things like walk across a bright blue tarp or jump over a river.
In the landscape of my heart, Phoenix owns a large and rambling acreage.  I promised him years ago that I would always take care of him, and that he could trust me.  I have stayed true to my promise all these years, and I don't plan to stop now.  I just need to figure out a loophole in this doxycycline business.  Hopefully, since he isn't lame or stiff at the walk, he isn't in excruciating pain and doesn't mind the delay as I search for the best treatment.  Sadly, I can't know that for sure.  But every day I walk down to the pasture and brush him, and tell him I'm doing everything I can to find him treatment. 

Update:  I got an email this morning that they cannot accept prescriptions from outside of Australia in their pharmacies.  So I guess it's back to the drawing board.  Readers, if you have any ideas or suggestions, I would love to hear them! 

45 comments:

Blackberry Lane said...

What sweet and heartwarming pictures. I wish you much success in finding an affordable source for the medicine.

Terri said...

Oh poor Phoenix! I know how you feel- we have an elderly horse who has been on the decline now for about ten years...she eats well, but doesn't gain weight- in fact she keeps losing it. We've tried everything, but nothing is working. The vet doesn't have an answer for us.

Sandra said...

What a swwet story about your rescued horse!
Sorry to hear he is having problems! I hope your able to find a solution.

Buttons said...

Oh Lisa I am so sorry I know someone has good advice for you. Phoenix is going to be OK. HUGS B

andy said...

So sorry Lisa ! I hope some how everything turns out good ! Have a good day

Diane Cayton-Hakey said...

I am so sorry to hear this, Lisa. Hopefully someone will have a good answer for you. These darn pharmaceutical companies simply rob all of us. It's just sad how they have lined their pockets with money at the expense of sick humans and animals. Of course if I run across any information that can help you I will indeed pass it along to you. Xox

Debby@Just Breathe said...

My heart is so saddened to hear about your sweet Phoenix having Lyme disease. I will keep him in my prayers. ((HUGS))

Michaela said...

Oh! :( I'm going to check some Romanian websites, in case I can find anything useful!

Rob-bear said...

Oh, Lisa; this is such sad news. I feel so sorry for Phoenix and you. Especially when I hear the wonderful story of your life together.

Through my volunteer work I have contact with lots of vets up here in Canada. I'll see what I can do, though I fear the "out or country" issue may crop up, as in Australia.

Blessings and Bear hugs!
Bears Noting, Life in the Urban Forest (poetry).

Jill said...

I am so sorry, Lisa. He is a beauty. I'm sorry I can offer no help...only good thoughts and prayers for a good solution.

Our Neck of the Woods said...

I am so sorry! I can't believe that medicine is so expensive. When Duchess got shaved, she tested positive for erlichia so she went on Baytril. The vet told me they used to prescribe Doxycycline but it had shot in price like crazy lately. I didn't realize it was THAT expensive though. Yikes. I really hope you can find a solution to your problem! Wishing you the best. I love all the photos of you and Phoenix :)

Monkeywrangler said...

Sorry to hear of your Phoenix's Lyme disease. I hope you find a cheap source for his treatment.

Vic303

TexWisGirl said...

oh, i'm SO sorry to hear that update! CRAP!

Sonya @ Under the Desert Sky said...

Oh, no!! So sorry to hear this! I sure hope someone can help you find a much cheaper place to fill Phoenix's prescription.

In the meantime, I can contact my former riding instructor, now in Washington (state). She has become an expert on hoof conditions and may have some suggestions.

JDaniel4's Mom said...

I am so sorry to hear this. I hope someone can suggest a cheaper place to get the meds.

Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell said...

I feel for you. I can hear in your tone just how dear your horse is to you and I so very much hope you get something figured out!

Ginny said...

I am SO sorry! I can tell by the pictures how much you love him. Yes, I DO have some long shots. We just faced a kind of similar situation ourselves. Our cats have a rare kind of mite, and Cher has bitten herself nearly naked, no fur at all on hips and tummy now. Poor thing bites and bites all day. The other two have the mites as well, but don't bite themselves as badly. The meds were terribly expensive and had to be used over three months or so. So our vet ran into the company rep for this drug, it was Bayer, and she asked him if he could send her some at no charge for a couple seniors who had three cats. We had to wait a few months, but one day they showed up with a whole case of it, saving us nearly a thousand dollars likely. One other thing, our vet has a type of caring fund that they can use to help their patients who just can't afford huge bills. We had to board the three cats for 10 days when they had eye problems, and they did all the boarding for free. So you may want to ask if your vet has any kind of fund to help people. OR contact the manufacturer of this drug, maybe you could even make some kind of deal involving your blog or something. I know this isn't much, let us know if you find a way!

Fernando Santos (Chana) said...

Olá Lis, espero que encontre uma solução para o seu Cavalo....
A minha solidariedade....
Cumprimentos

The Incredible Woody said...

Do you know anyone that lives near the border and could make a run to Mexico or Canada to visit their pharmacies?

Kerri said...

Oh poor thing! I truly hope it works out for you!!

mail4rosey said...

What a beautiful story about the love of your horse. I'm sorry he's got such an expensive treatment to take, and I really hope someone can direct you somewhere that it's more manageable. That is an outrageous amount of money for medicine. :(

GardenOfDaisies said...

Sweet Phoenix. I hope you find a solution to the problem, soon. (Why is doxy so stinkin' expensive?)

LisaS said...

Sorry to hear about your horse Phoenix. Good luck with the search.

Tina Fariss Barbour said...

Oh, Lisa, I am so sorry! My heart goes out to you and Phoenix. I made a similar promise to Waddles, and I know how those promises bind us to our animals.

If I find any information to help, I will let you know. And I will be praying for you and your beloved horse.

Sally said...

Lisa, I agree with one of your readers; please check with the pharmaceutical company directly who makes the drug. I don't have any experience with getting meds for pets, but I can tell you that some of those companies will work directly with you, and in some cases the meds are free. I had to resort to that a while back because it was going to cost almost l,000/month and I got it free for almost a year.

Best of luck to you and your beauty.

xoxo

BlueShell said...

The poor thing...
well, here they do not accept prescriptions from other countries...

What if you open an account - help Phoenix - and one could give some contribution to the injections???

I would give some € Euros /or dollars to help. And it would be an honor to me if you would accept my contribution.
I bet there are many of our friends That would be happy to help.
We just talk...the thing is...we've got to do something.

My email is
isabelmartins61 at gmail dotcom.
Tell me what you think.

Love
BShell
(Oh...i had to quit blogger because I was having a lot of anonymous, nasty comments: now I'm here:
blueshell.azurara.net)

Grandma Bonnie said...

I am so sorry to hear I am sure you would know if he was in bad pain.

Tweedles -- that's me said...

Oh gosh-- we know how much this is on your mind. We hope you will find some help.
love
tweedles

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

That totally stinks. Crazy how expensive it is to buy people OR animal drugs, isn't it?

SweetMarie said...

I really like Ginny's idea! The company would love some advertisement on your blog. They pay big bucks for normally and so maybe they would make a trade. :)
Your pics are beautiful!

born ambitious. born imaginative. said...

This must be so heartbreaking. I hope something works out. Deep breaths...

Linda said...

Oh dear! My sister's dog went through a bout with lyme a few years ago.

I see there are a number of people raising money to beat lyme disease on indiegogo. I'll bet many of your followers would donate.

A Quiet Corner said...

Bay Girl, can your Vet fax a diagnosis to an Aussie Vet who could write the scrip?....:)JP

Lin said...

Looks like you are getting some suggestions--I hope something works for you and Phoenix. It's hard having an elderly animal friend--we've been through so much with them and it's hard not to help them feel better. I don't have horse contacts, but if I hear anything or see anything about this, I will contact you.

In the meantime, I will send love and prayers that you find a reasonable solution.

Mere said...

I'm so sorry to hear about Phoenix. If there is anything we can do to help, please let us know. I'd love to give a donation to the "save Phoenix fund" :-)I can't believe the medication is that expensive, but I guess animals don't get health insurance to help pay those costs.

Valerie said...

Oh Lisa-I was so sorry to hear about this! I'll do whatever I can do to help think of a solution:) Phoenix is an amazing horse-and companion:)

Chatty Crone said...

That has to be so sad. I do order my meds from Canada but I don't know anything about Australia. Good luck.

Chatty Crone said...

You know antibiotics are used by fish without a prescription.

Michael Manning said...

Lisa: I'll reference this blog in an email to a horsewoman who is a dear friend of mine who may have a solution. Please send me your email.

Steve Surratt said...

As a few others said, Canada is an option and they do have mail-in pharmacies.

Anne Payne said...

I don't know anything about horses or where to get the drug Phoenix needs but I sure will be praying you find some soon!

Lane Hill House said...

I contacted horse trainer and here is answer received:

Just heavy-duty antibiotic-treatment from her vet! Aside from that, I have no magic answers. (horse) was cured of anoplasmosis (erlichiosis) a few years ago that way and (dog) was cured of Lyme (hopefully). It's a weird auto-immune thing: some horses/dogs/people can shed it, some never do?

Candy C. said...

Oh my goodness!! I can understand how you feel about Phoenix after all you two have been through together and I hope you can find a solution to the stupid-high drug costs!! {{HUGS}} to you both!

Michaele said...

My heart hurts for you. Such a love filled post.

Andrea B. said...

((Hugs)) Lisa. Sending loads of love to you and extra gentle hugs to Phoenix.